UF, Progress Energy Florida dedicate energy-saving solar panel system

Nov. 27, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FLA. – The University of Florida (UF) is reducing its energy costs and promoting renewable energy, thanks to the installation of a 100-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system from Progress Energy.

The effort is part of the utility’s recently expanded SunSense solar energy program, through which Progress Energy will provide no-cost solar installations to 10 public schools and one post-secondary institution per year through 2014. UF was selected based on its commitment to offering students energy education and resource tools, among other considerations. Project dedication is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 4, in front of the SunSense® kiosk on the west side of Weil Hall.

“As a longtime partner in energy education and development, the University of Florida has demonstrated its firmly held commitment to paving the way to a cleaner, more efficient energy future,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president — Florida. “Progress Energy is pleased to support UF’s adoption of solar technology through the SunSense Schools Program.”

UF’s PV array consists of three separate installations: a 78-kW array at Energy Park in the 2700 block of Southwest 23rd Avenue, a 20-kW array at the Microbiology Building on Memorial Road and a 2-kW array at Rinker Hall. The system is expected to generate about 157,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year. By comparison, the average home uses between 1,000 to 1,200 kWh per month.

Alternative energy technologies, such as those included in the SunSense program – combined with energy efficiency and state-of-the-art plants – collectively form the balanced solution strategy Progress Energy believes is necessary to best meet its customers’ short- and long-term energy needs.

Progress Energy Florida is an industry leader in the development and implementation of programs to help customers save energy and money. Through the company’s energy-efficiency programs, Progress Energy Florida’s customers have collectively saved more than $1.255 billion in energy costs since 1981, reducing the need for enough electricity to power more than 950,000 homes for a year.

In all, Progress Energy Florida offers its customers 14 programs and more than 100 energy-efficiency upgrades to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprints.

To date, Progress Energy has installed solar arrays on and provided associated educational materials to 28 Florida schools through SunSense Schools and its predecessor programs. Other program components include incentives toward residential and commercial solar PV installations. The expanded solar offerings will be in place through 2014.

“As a university, our long-term goal is to be able to produce 15 percent of our energy needs with renewable energy sources within the next decade,” said Curtis Reynolds, UF vice president for business affairs. “A ground-mounted system of this size is a first for our campus. The system not only reduces campus greenhouse gas emissions, but also yields significant cost savings.”